Gambling in young adults: An investigation of the pathways model using the Manitoba longitudinal study of young adults (MLSYA)
A growing body of research indicates that problem gamblers are not a homogeneous group but can instead be subtyped based on differing characteristics proposed in the Pathways Model. This dissertation, composed of two studies, sought to investigate the applicability of this model in understanding young adult gamblers in the province of Manitoba. Study 1 had two aims: (1) to determine if a broad sample of young adult gamblers (N = 566) could be subtyped according to several characteristics described in the Pathways Model (i.e., impulsivity, anxiety, depression, drug use and alcohol dependence) using Latent Class Analysis, and (2) to use multinomial regression to determine if scores on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) and demographic variable were predictive of class membership. LCA identified three classes of gamblers: emotionally vulnerable, non-problem and impulsive. The results of the multinomial regression demonstrated that older age, lower income, living independently and PGSI scores were associated with higher odds of being an impulsive gambler. Identifying as European, living independently and PGSI scores were associated with higher odds of being an emotionally vulnerable gambler. Study 2 had two aims: (1) determine if subtypes similar to those in study 1 would be identified in the same sample (N = 566) two years later; and (2) to utilize latent transition analysis (LTA) to examine the stability of class membership over this two-year period. Similar to Wave 2 a three-class model of gamblers was retained at Wave 4 (i.e., emotionally vulnerable, non-problem, and impulsive. LTA revealed that the majority of non-problem gamblers remained in the same class over the two-year period, emotionally vulnerable gamblers were likely to transition into the non-problem gambler class, and impulsive gamblers were equally likely to transition into the non-problem and emotionally vulnerable classes. Both studies provide evidence for the subtypes of gamblers outlined in the Pathways Model. The results of Study 2 suggest that membership within emotionally vulnerable and impulsive gambling subtypes is unstable during young adulthood.